CDEC Foundation Headquarters — Centro Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea Onlus
The new Headquarters of the Contemporary Jewish Documentation Centre-CDEC Foundation is sited inside an area of the Milan Central Station characterised by still active technological spaces and by others that are no longer in use. The large abandoned space, consisting of two transversal bays located inside the section of the building that extends parallel to Via Ferrante Aporti, onto which it faces with two large windows, was devoid of partitions and installations. Being part of the Station, the area consequently falls under the protection bond placed on it by the Superintendence.
The space of approximately 300 sqm shares with the adjoining Shoah Memorial prerogatives of architectural-monumental uniqueness, determined by the presence of the visible structures of the building designed in 1931 by Architect Ulisse Stacchini, which represent the morphologically relevant character and the specific identity of the interior spaces of the building-infrastructure.
As there is no direct entrance from the outside, the CDEC office area is accessed from the Shoah Memorial.
The design criteria followed in order to give form, use and meaning to the space assigned to the new CDEC Foundation headquarters represent the main element of continuity with the Memorial project. Priority was given to assigning quality to the spaces of the Study Centre in relation to the spatial, morphological and material characteristics of the Central Station, and therefore to the materials that characterise it - exposed reinforced concrete, steel, glass. This morphological and material continuity identifies the new Fondazione CDEC headquarters as a place aimed at documenting and studying the Italian Jewish heritage and the Shoah, which is a natural complement to the memorial and museum site.
In particular, the new CDEC headquarters was conceived on the basis of the specific characteristics of the 'container' in which it is inserted: a large undivided space that displays its own framework. The new offices are formed by a single, sequential space, which punctuates working environments that are integrated, but at the same time autonomous. Distancing these environments from the pre-existing one is a way of preserving the readability of its specific identity, as well as the expression of a reversible assembly method, as it does not involve demolition or alteration of the office building itself.
The large hollow space with a single central column allows the interior spaces to be distributed through autonomous desolidarised volumes. Constructed with self-supporting steel frames slightly raised from the station floor and infills in opaque (insulating panels) or transparent material (glass frames), they constitute individual units or for work, environments protected from noise and vibrations that also reduce energy loss.